Sunday, February 24th, 2019

A novel solar trigeneration system based on concentrating photovoltaic/thermal collectors. Part 1: Design and simulation model

Available online 14 March 2013
Publication year: 2013

This paper analyzes the thermodynamic performance of high-temperature PhotoVoltaic/Thermal ( PVT ) solar collectors. The collector is based on a combination of a parabolic dish concentrating solar thermal collector and a high efficiency solar photovoltaic collector. The PVT system under investigation allows one to produce simultaneously electrical energy and high-temperature thermal energy by solar irradiation. The main aim of this study is the design and the analysis of a concentrating PVT which is able to operate at reasonable electric and thermal efficiency up to 180 °C. In fact, the PVT is designed to be integrated in a Solar Heating and Cooling system and it must drive a two-effect absorption chiller. This capability is quite new since conventional PVT collectors usually operate below 45 °C. Among the possible high-temperature PVT systems, this paper is focused on a system consisting in a dish concentrator and in a triple-junction PV layer. In particular, the prototype consists in a parabolic dish concentrator and a planar receiver. The system is equipped with a double axis tracking system. The bottom surface of the receiver is equipped with triple-junction silicon cells whereas the top surface is insulated. In order to analyze the performance of the Concentrating PVT ( CPVT ) collector a detailed mathematical model was implemented. This model is based on zero-dimensional energy balances on the control volumes of the system. The simulation model allows one to calculate in detail the temperatures of the main components of the system ( PV layer, concentrator, fluid inlet and outlet and metallic substrate) and the main energy flows (electrical energy, useful thermal energy, radiative losses, convective losses). The input parameters of the model include all the weather conditions (temperature, insolation, wind velocity, etc.) and the geometrical/material parameters of the systems (lengths, thermal resistances, thicknesses, etc.). Results showed that both electrical and thermal efficiencies are very good in a wide range of operating conditions. The study also includes a comprehensive sensitivity analysis in which the main design variables were varied in order to evaluate the related variations of both electrical and thermal efficiencies.


► A new prototype of concentrating photovoltaic thermal solar collector has been designed. ► A zero-dimensional simulation model of the collector is developed. ► The collector is equipped with triple-junction cells. ► Both thermal and electrical efficiencies are very high for the majority of the operating conditions.

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